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What is a Social Security “Disability?”


In order to collect social security disability benefits, you must have a qualifying “disability.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that a disability is a limitation caused by mental or physical impairment that keeps a person from working. The Social Security Administration uses a similar definition; It says that disability “is based on your inability to work.”

You may qualify as disabled if:

  • You cannot perform the same jobs that you used to do
  • You cannot adjust to a different occupation for medical reasons
  • You anticipate that the disability will last for at least one year
  • You anticipate that the disability will lead to death

The Social Security Administration calls this a “strict” definition. In other words, it will not make allowances for short-term ailments or disabilities that do not meet these qualifications. The administration assumes that working families have the resources to support loved ones with short-term disabilities.

Other resources for short-term disabilities include:

  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Savings & Investments
  • Insurance Coverage

Social Security Disability “Special Situations”

Although the administration provides a strict definition of “disability,” it does allow certain individuals to qualify for disability benefits who may not fall under the umbrella of “disabled.” For example, someone who is legally blind or has low vision may be able to work and receive disability benefits. The surviving widow or widower of a qualifying individual may be able to collect benefits as well. In some situations, adults who suffer a disability before the age of 22 may be able to receive disability payments.

If you were denied social security benefits, you may be able to file an appeal to get the financial assistance that you need. If you need to file for benefits but don’t know where to start, speak with an attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options. At Shook & Stone, we are committed to helping the injured and the disabled get the financial assistance that they need. We serve clients in Las Vegas, Nevada and the surrounding areas. To learn more, contact our office and ask about our free consultations.

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